How Does My Baby’s Brain Develop Before Birth?

by Guest
Posted August 26 2010 11:56am
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During pregnancy, the basic architecture of the brain is formed. The different parts of the brain are in place (e.g., brain stem, thalamus, cerebellum). This initial development also provides basic brain functions that help the baby live. Although this "hardware" is laid out during pregnancy, the brain is still immature in that the "software," or the connections between different parts of the brain, is not yet formed. To a certain extent, the way the connections are formed depends on exposure to our environment through relationships and experiences.

Unlike your baby’s other organs, such as the heart which is already functioning as it will throughout the child's life, the brain is not yet ready to perform all the amazing functions it will eventually be able to do. It goes through a series of developmental stages. It is after birth that your baby’s experiences begin to have a greater effect on brain development than it did during pregnancy. During pregnancy, maternal health and stress, drugs, alcohol, and the quality of maternal nutrition are some of the experiences that influence the developing brain.

Used with Permission
Talking Reasonably and Responsibly About Early Brain Development
Center for Early Childhood Education and Development, Irving B HarrisTraining Center for Infant and Toddler Development 2001

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by Maxine
Posted July 27 2011 03:30pm
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Our experts have developed a number of articles that will address the questions you have about properly breastfeeding your child.

There is so much information out there about breastfeeding and as a result, parents are overwhlemed when they look for the information they need about breastfeeding their baby. Our experts have developed a number of articles that will address the questions you have about properly breastfeeding your child.


Rest assured - you are not alone and we are here to help.


Ask Our Expert!
Do you still have questions about breastfeeding? Our expert, Attie Sandink, is a Registered Nurse and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. Ask Attie a Question!


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Birth Control - Intra-Uterine Devices (IUD)

by Maxine
Posted August 19 2010 02:08pm
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These are small plastic devices that are inserted into the uterus and may or may not contain copper or a hormone. They work by creating a foreign body reaction in the lining of the uterus which prevents the fertilized egg from implanting. IUDs that contain hormones also cause changes in the thickness of the fluid in the cervix which hinders the sperm's ability to enter the uterus.
IUDs are considered to be 99% effective.


  • Moms can have them left in for 5-10 years depending on the type that is used.
  • Do not interfere with milk supply, as estrogen can, if Mom is breastfeeding.
  • Does not interrupt sex as it is already inserted.


  • Does not protect Mom against sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Can contribute to infections of the genital tract.
  • Requires insertion and placement by Mom's health care provider.
  • Mom needs to check if she can feel the strings of the IUD which protrude into the vagina. Some Moms feel uncomfortable inserting their fingers into the vagina and may not be comfortable with this method of birth control.
  • IUD can be expelled spontaneously.
  • May cause heavier menstrual periods and cramping.
  • Low risk of perforation of the uterine wall. Perforation is a rare event and may happen at any time. There is less risk if the health care provider is experienced in inserting IUDs.
  • Over time the IUD can become imbedded into the lining of the uterus. This can be painful and may require that the IUD be surgically removed.
  • Moms who develop a sexually transmitted disease while they are using an IUD may be at greater risk of having problems getting pregnant in the future.

Not Recommended:

IUDs are not recommended if Mom has experienced any of the following:

  • Current or recent repeated pelvic infections
  • A recent abnormal PAP test
  • Known or suspected pregnancy
  • Severe infections of the cervix
  • Unexplained vaginal bleeding
  • Cancer in the genital tract
  • Diabetes
  • Paralysis
  • Allergies to Copper or other materials used in the IUD
  • Anemia or history of severe menstrual cramping
  • Wilson's disease
  • Sensitivities to the hormones contained in the IUD

 There are other methods of birth control. Learn More >>

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Introduction to Temperament

by Guest
Posted August 26 2010 11:58am
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Picture this scenario: Ava and Theresa are sitting in the park with their newborn babies. Theresa’s baby, Hannah, seems fussy and is crying continually. Ava’s baby, Mike, on the other hand, appears calm and peacefully stares at his mom’s face and around him. 

Theresa, looking frustrated and very tired, wants to know how Ava keeps Mike so calm. She shares with Ava how baby Hannah had been this fussy since her birth and she’s afraid that she may have been doing something wrong. She has to rock Hannah all the time in order to calm her down. Ava explains to Theresa that Mike has always been a quiet baby, and advises Theresa to speak to her doctor or nurse about Hannah’s behaviour.

Did Ava advise Theresa wisely? What advice would you have given to Theresa?

Understanding a Temperamental Baby
From birth, babies differ in personality. Some may be more fussy or quiet, energetic or calm and sensitive or insensitive to loud noises. These behaviours are what we call temperament, and much of this is first seen in the first few months after birth.

A lot of the parenting you provide hinges on your expectations for your baby’s temperament and behaviour. An active baby of active parents may be accepted as “just right,” while the very same baby born into a family of quiet reserved parents might be thought to be “hyperactive.”  Sometimes our culture sets our expectations. For example, a boisterous boy baby receives quite a different reaction in most settings than a boisterous girl baby. And a fussy baby is challenging to almost every parent.

Learn more about temperament by reading other articles and watching our temperament video

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